HIV/AIDS Awareness in Nigerian Primary Schools: Counselling Implications
There is a dire need to begin HIV/AIDS education early in the life of individuals before exposure to situations that put them at risk of HIV infection. It is also believed that the most common place for people to learn about HIV and AIDS is the school where the attitudes and behaviour of young people are shaped. Counsellors are in the best position to do this. The present study investigated the availability of Counsellors in selected public primary schools in Benin –City, Nigeria. It also determined the level of awareness, knowledge and sources of information about HIV/AIDS among the pupils in the primary schools. The respondents were four hundred and fifty-one randomly selected pupils from ten randomly selected primary schools in the Benin-City. Data was collected through a validated questionnaire which sought information about the availability of counsellors in the schools, respondents’ awareness and knowledge of the characteristics, mode of transmission and preventive measures of HIV/AIDS as well as sources of information about HIV and AIDS. The findings of the study revealed that there are no Professional Counsellors in the primary schools. Majority of the respondents have heard about HIV/AIDS through the mass media, posters and films/drama. Respondents had a high level of knowledge about the characteristics, mode of transmission and preventive measures of the disease. There was no significant difference between male and female pupils’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Based on the findings, it was concluded that even though public HIV/AIDS awareness creation has been effective as to catch the attention of primary school pupils, there was the need to make available in schools, comprehensive HIV/AIDS education and Counselling to equip pupils with knowledge and skills required to make informed and appropriate decisions in the future. Implications for counselling and HIV education were discussed and recommendations made.
Keywords: Counselling; HIV/AIDS; Education; Primary School Pupils